“And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’” (Mark 2:1–5 NKJV).
The Gospel of Mark gives us the account of a group of men who wanted to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing. Jesus was teaching in a home, and the men couldn’t get in the door with their disabled friend because of the huge crowd. Undaunted, they climbed up on top of the house and dug through the roof to lower the paralyzed man inside . . . dropping him right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw the faith of these men, He looked at their paralyzed friend and said, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2 NKJV). Jesus was saying, “You no longer have to be afraid of the penalty for your sin. Your past is behind you. I am giving you another chance in life.”
Jesus then told him to get up, pick up his bed, and go to his house. When you think about it, this man had a choice. He could have stayed on his sickbed forever, a perennial “victim of circumstance.” He could have said, “I can’t,” or “I won’t,” or “I’m just not sure. Let me think about it.” He had a choice, and he decided to respond. His brain sent the command to muscles that had never worked before, and he stood to his feet.
There are people today who don’t want to change. They don’t want to leave their lifestyle or turn from the choices they have made. They refuse to take hold of God’s promises and provision and power.
If you want to change, if you want to break free from a vice that has you in its grip, a lifestyle you are trapped in, or an addiction that you can’t seem to shake, then Christ has a word of encouragement to you: “Get up and walk. You can do it. Be of good cheer, and arise.”
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!